I am going to admit something: I’m not really one to pay attention to beauty products. I don’t read magazines and I don’t own a TV. There’s not a lot of advertising that reaches me lately, especially when you consider the language barrier: my Japanese sucks, so even the ads on the train don’t really do all that much to convince me of anything.
Oh, and I only buy cosmetics or skin/hair care products that are cruelty-free. This eliminates almost everything made by Japanese brands.
So I noticed that Manuka honey was all over the stores here, and it was wildly expensive. Some of my students had mentioned that it was like some new amazing cure-all for everything. I just figured it was some odd Japanese fad because again, that’s not the thing I’m paying attention to lately. Maybe they think of it like people think of Chinese Herbal teas. I knew that Manuka honey was a thing, but I thought it was just another weird Japanese thing.
And then we went on our honeymoon. And THEN I learned that it’s from New Zealand and Australia (this is part of the reason for the exorbitant prices) and might actually be quite popular in other parts of the world.
Wikipedia says: Mānuka honey is a monofloral honey produced in Australia and New Zealand from the nectar of the mānuka tree. The honey is commonly sold as an alternative medicine. While a component found in mānuka honey has antibacterial properties in vitro, there is no conclusive evidence of medicinal or dietary value other than as a sweetener.
We had a lot of opportunities to try it out, and learned that there are different level ratings (like 20, 50, 80, etc) for the different levels of effectiveness. As Wikipedia says, there is no conclusive evidence about its medicinal uses, but they still have this rating process.
We made the decision to buy our souvenirs from places that we really, really wanted to support. As the Manuka Honey products were just about everywhere, we knew we wouldn’t have trouble finding them. So we bought a lot of souvenirs in Kaikoura, which was hit extremely hard by the recent earthquake and is now suffering from a severe drop in tourism (this is where the sea floor rose up to 6 meters out of the damn water), and also in Christchurch at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. We seriously want to give this place all of our money. Like, can we invest in them?
Willowbank had a pretty great gift shop, and had all of the Manuka Honey products there. While we didn’t want to drop $325 for a small container of the 80+ stuff (presumably for straight eating or mixing in your drinks?), they had a lot of cremes and beauty products: lip gloss, hand creme, etc. I just loved the way it smelled. IT SMELLS SO GOOD.
I’ve been into eye creams lately, since I’m 35 and have had the laugh lines for about 10 years now. So there was this intensive refining eye cream made by Wild Ferns (actually all of the products were from Wild Ferns) (who doesn’t test on animals and promotes sustainability in all of their ingredient use!), and it wasn’t TOO expensive (it’s like $15 on Amazon.com, I think?), so I figured, ‘why not?’.
We got some super-softening hand cream for one of our friends, and I also treated myself to a lip gloss. Because hey, it was our honeymoon! We also bought a load of other, non-Manuka-Honey products for other people there. Because they deserve the support.
I’ve been using the eye creme and the lip gloss since we got back last month. Who knows if they work or are ‘reducing the lines around my eyes’, but I haven’t had any averse reactions to either of them, and they smell so, so good.
Seriously, the best part of the day is the first half: after I wash my face and put the eye creme on, I can smell it for a few hours afterward. It’s so great!
It’s the little things, right? Like aromatherapy for MY FACE.
I don’t really care if these products don’t actually have the effect they claim to have on my skin. They smell great and my skin feels smooth, at least. So, that’s a plus, right?